Last week, we were headed to a nearby town to meet my parents, as the boys were going to spend the weekend with them. When I picked them up from daycare, we were listening to Positive Life Radio in the car. They were doing a special pledge drive called Rice for Cambodia. We have given to this campaign in the past, and I was planning to give to it again, but thought the boys would also be old enough to be involved this year.
As we were driving through town, I just let the radio guys speak for themselves for awhile. After about 10 minutes, I asked the boys what they thought about buying rice for people who didn't have food right now. Chance had a couple questions, but I think understood the concept right away. Colton wasn't so sure. I asked the boys if they would like to use their allowance or do some extra chores around the house and buy one bag of rice together - $9.00. Chance immediately said yes. Colton immediately said no.
Colton said he was saving his piggy bank for a dirt bike, and he wasn't giving any away. I tried to explain that he could leave the money in his piggy bank and do some extra chores. He said if he was going to do extra chores, then he would put that money in his piggy bank too! I tried to reason with him - do you understand that these kids don't have anything to eat? His answer - then they can just go to Wal-Mart and buy some chicken nuggets. They don't have a Wal-Mart. Well, that's not my fault!!
I'm frustrated, so I drop the subject for a minute. Chance uses the short window of silence to voice his immediate hunger and ask to go to a restaurant. We are already late to meet Grandma and Grandpa. Well, then let's go through the drive-through. We'll get something once we get to where we're meeting. (Now with tears in his voice) I'm hungry now and I want to go through the drive through!!
At this point, I may have raised my voice more than a little bit - I can't believe this!! There are children in Cambodia who haven't eaten for days! I suggested a way you guys could help them, and all you can talk about are dirt bikes and drive throughs! I can't believe I'm raising such inconsiderate children!!!!!!!
The car was silent for the next few miles. Then, Colton says tearfully - well I don't even like rice, and I don't want to talk to strangers, so I can't take those kids any rice, and I don't like it anyway!
So, we spent the next few miles explaining to Colton (who is 4), how the rice campaign worked, what happened once he gave his $$ for a bag of rice, and how helpful it would be. After many questions (and a frustrated Chance trying to help explain the concept), both boys agreed that they would like to buy 1 bag of rice.
I called in my pledge, as well as theirs - they were excited to hear our name on the radio during the song break when the DJ's were thanking the recent donors.
Once I got home, I was still frustrated with their reaction. I know they are young, but I was hoping to make more of an impact with the radio program. I told Matt of our conversation, and he suggested we have a rice dinner one night the next week.
Fast forward to last night . . . .
We got home from work/school/daycare, and I started my usual dinner routine. Colton was hungry, so Matt suggested he could help make dinner if he wanted to. I told him I had dinner on the stove, but he could set the table with bowls, spoons, napkins, and glasses.
What's for dinner?
The boys were pretty surprised, but ready to be good sports. We said the blessing, then talked about the decision the boys had made to buy a bag of rice. The bag they bought will feed a family of 4 for about 4-6 weeks. I had set out some seasonings, and told everyone they could have as many servings of rice as they would like, with whatever seasonings they wanted. But, there would be no dessert or snacks after dinner.
Chance - so, do they have this for dinner every night?
What do they have for breakfast?
Every meal is rice?
Wow - that's a lot of rice.
By the end of dinner, I think all of us had a better appreciation for what the Cambodians are eating. I realize that we are so fortunate not to have to experience the hunger that these people experience - where the rice is not boring, bland, or yucky to them - it is just simply a blessing. It was a great lesson for all of us.
Thanks, PLR, for hosting the campaign. Thanks, Musicianaries for feeding a hungry nation. Thank you, Lord, for the food in our bellies, and for the opportunity to help others put food in theirs. Thanks . . .